QUESTIONING MUNICIPAL SELF-PERFORMANCE
Is the municipality
prepared to accept the
cost and human resources
with seasonal workers?
The nature of the construction industry is such that a large part of the workforce is seasonal workers.
The climate in Canada dictates most civil construction activities cannot take place for several
months each year or more, depending on the part of the country. While contractors seek means of
keeping workers employed during the offseason, seasonal layoffs are a fact of life in the industry.
Municipalities considering self-performing construction work must be aware and consider the
cost and labour relations implications of maintaining a seasonal workforce. Contractors and their
unions are experienced in managing a system in which large numbers of workers may be laid off for
extended periods of time. How the dynamics might be approached by a municipality will in large
part be dependent on negotiations with their public sector unions. Municipalities must be aware
that considerable new costs may arise from agreements about how seasonal workers on the municipal
payroll will be managed.
A few final
Does the municipality
understand and is it
prepared to accept the risk
and liability associated
with injury or death of a
worker or member of the
public, or damage
By performing its own construction work, a municipality or other public agency assumes the legal
responsibilities of the “Constructor.” These responsibilities require specialized health and safety
training and programs and, in the case of injury or death to a worker of member of the public,
financial liabilities are significant. The Constructor is liable for any long-term financial responsibilities
arising from injury or fatalities, including ongoing rehabilitation costs, disability and pension
costs. In the case of injury to a member of the public, the Constructor also bears any costs
arising from civil legal action. Damage to private property is another risk borne by the Constructor
that has significant financial implications. When work is publicly tendered, these liabilities are assumed
by the private sector contractor.
thinkbigmagazine.ca | Quarter 3 2019 | Think BIG 11